Waiting for a breakthrough...

I have written three books. The third one is  "TROUBLED WATERS". It was all about what I had gone through aboard a vessel I commanded in the year 2006.

'Collision to Mutiny' is what I have had to face; Not only face but to make sure as Master, I settle those problems.

Check the book out: https://www.facebook.com/captainjohndesilva/?ref=bookmarks

Things have changed with time...

Few days ago, I was on board a ship which was trading under British Flag and was registered in Cardiff, England.

The Master and crew on that ship were Chinese!

I sailed with a company that owned Refrigerated Cargo ships (Reefer ships) about twenty five years ago. At that time, all officers on-board were British, and I was a Junior officer. The other non-British Officer was the Third Engineer.

One of the Master's whom I sailed under, used to repeatedly tell me, that I will never be able to command one of those ships since I was not a British national. He made this comment all the time in the ship's bar, when most of the other officers were present.

When I saw all Chinese crew on a British ship, I was thinking of what that Captain used to tell me. 

If you're still around, I ask you, how did this happen, Sir?

Attending to surveys on Vessels in Norfolk, Virginia.

I had to attend six vessel in Norfolk, Chesapeake and in Newport News, Virginia. So, I left home on Jan. 13th. From Jan 13th to Jan 24th I stayed in a hotel and attended seven vessels. It was great the work and the people whom I met on board each vessel. Most of the vessel I attended were manned by  either Filipinos or Ukrainians. They were very co-operative and hospitable, too. This made my life very easy never felt my being away from home.

Back to work...

I had a good holiday in Sri Lanka, and returned home on Dec 31st, 2019. After arriving home,  I had a seven day break, and returned to work, on Monday Jan 6th. My first job is to attend a vessel in Baltimore tomorrow, Jan 8th.

Today, one of my colleagues went on holidays, and will be away for one month. Work load is building up. But we will not have any pressure because all in Gods time.

Holiday in Sri Lanka

After quite a hectic work schedule, I applied for a month's leave to proceed to my native land: Sri Lanka. It was approved and I left home in Mayland, USA where I live with my family on December 3rd, 2019. And, arrived there on December 5th, 2019. This was due to a long lay over in London.

It was great to be back in Sri Lanka. The weather there in the month of December is usually not warm or humid. But, it seems like everything, weather patterns, too have changed. Very warm and humid afternoons and then the thunderstorms associated with lightning and rain showers were experienced in the evenings. 

I was able to attend my nephew's wedding, and then a very unfortunate and sad situation of sudden death of a cousin. All in a nut-shell.

Also patronized my clubs, 'Capri' and CR&FC (Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club).

Christmas was peaceful and we had a small family get together at home with live music provided by a three piece 'Calypso band'.

My mother who is topping ninety years came and spent about sixteen days with me. That was great!

"All that starts well, must end well" and, I left Colombo December 30th, and arrived in Maryland on December 31st, 2019.

Wood pellets

Pellet fuels (or pellets) are biofuels made from compressed organic matter or biomass.[1] Pellets can be made from any one of five general categories of biomass: industrial waste and co-products, food wasteagricultural residuesenergy crops, and virgin lumber.[2] Wood pellets are the most common type of pellet fuel and are generally made from compacted sawdust[3] and related industrial wastes from the milling of lumber, manufacture of wood products and furniture, and construction.[4] Other industrial waste sources include empty fruit bunches, palm kernel shells, coconut shells, and tree tops and branches discarded during logging operations.[5][6] So-called "black pellets" are made of biomass, refined to resemble hard coal and were developed to be used in existing coal-fired power plants.[7] Pellets are categorized by their heating valuemoisture and ash content, and dimensions. They can be used as fuels for power generation, commercial or residential heating, and cooking.[8] Pellets are extremely dense and can be produced with a low moisture content (below 10%) that allows them to be burned with a very high combustion efficiency.[9]
Further, their regular geometry and small size allow automatic feeding with very fine calibration. They can be fed to a burner by auger feeding or by pneumatic conveying. Their high density also permits compact storage and transport over long distance. They can be conveniently blown from a tanker to a storage bunker or silo on a customer's premises.[10]
A broad range of pellet stoves, central heating furnaces, and other heating appliances have been developed and marketed since the mid-1980s.[11] In 1997 fully automatic wood pellet boilers with similar comfort level as oil and gas boilers became available in Austria.[12] With the surge in the price of fossil fuels since 2005, the demand for pellet heating has increased in Europe and North America, and a sizable industry is emerging. According to the International Energy Agency Task 40, wood pellet production has more than doubled between 2006 and 2010 to over 14 million tons.[13] In a 2012 report, the Biomass Energy Resource Center says that it expects wood pellet production in North America to double again in the next five years.

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellet_fuel

Long absence from the blog...

It seems that, I have not updated the blog for nearly five months. From about  July to December each year, there are a lot of wood pellets in bulk loaded on the East Coast of U.S. We are in charge of most of the vessels that load this cargo in Chesapeake, Virginia, Wilmington, North Carolina, Panama City, Florida and Savannah, Georgia.

From about early July to early November last year, I kept shuttling between Chesapeake and Wilmington. I was in charge to see the vessel pass the Hold cleanliness inspection and thereafter load maximum cargo the vessel could carry, considering stability parameters and draft restrictions.

The above is not an excuse for being away from the blog, but the type of work I was involved in, has a major role to play in that.

The crew we meet on ships

I have also observed ,from the ships I have visited for surveys, Senior Officers of the tankers, Gas carriers and product carriers were either Indians, Russians or Ukrainians. The ratings were from also those countries or from Philippines. Most of the bulk carriers were manned by Filipinos.

On speaking with the crew on some bulk carriers, I have found some of the contracts are long as  much as nine months.   Surely, that is too long. Unlike in the past the port stays are  very short. And upon berthing the vessel,  authorities board the vessel to inspect and grant inward clearance. Soon after the inward clearance is granted  there are so many to follow, which includes us, other surveyors such as Port State Control, Flag State , and also Class Surveyors.

Life is not easy especially for the Master, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer. When they get breathing space,  almost a day is gone!

I too have experienced such situations, during the time I sailed as Master. This is the life of a seafarer!!

Present day Mariners

I visit a ship to attend to surveys almost every other day.  During last three years, I have hardly found  any Officers or ratings on  board a ship from the U.K. or from any of the Scandinavian countries. Instead, present day seafarers mostly are Filipinos, Indians, Chinese, Russians, Ukrainians, and from few other countries.

Then what happened to the Britishers , Scandinavians, and Greeks? Once when I met a  Captain of a ship from Netherlands, I asked  him why we do not find aforementioned nationalities on board ships, any more?

His answer was, what they earn ashore is almost similar to what is earned at sea. Then, why does any one want to leave the families and go to sea and live a lonely life! Although the answers was acceptable, there was still something missing, to my understanding. 

I decided to call it a day to my seafaring....

After sailing on a ship on short contract , I decided ton quit sea life in August,2015. It was not a planned one but I did it. Went rough a bit of rough weather in dry land due to unplanned quitting of work.

Then in November, 2016 back to ships. This time not to go out sea but to attend Marine Surveys. The first few months kept me very busy with my work, working 24/7. The load eased up and I was transferred from New Orleans Office to Maryland office, where I am at present.

With Marine Survey I do not get much time for my writing. But, I am hopeful of breakthrough to my book 'Troubled Waters' which is presently available on leading  book stores in the U.S., and on Amazon.

"There , no medicine like hope, no incentive so great,  and tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow"-   O. S. Marden